Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Las Vegas blew us away!

We went, we saw and I'd say we definitely conquered Las Vegas this weekend.

Jena and I, and five of our girlfriends descended on Sin City for a little fun and to celebrate 25 years of living. To celebrate ourselves--our accomplishments, our happiness, our failures and our successes.

The seven of us girls (appropriately titled the Seven Deadly Sins) are all completely different individuals with different hopes and dreams. From writers to marketing mavens, speech pathologists and pharmacy students--we literally cover the gamut of personality types and traits.

But we are friends. Friends who know how to cover each others asses when we need to, cheer for and lift each other up, hold each other and ourselves accountable, and give out honesty when everyone else politely sugar coats--on appearance, behavior and everything else in between.

At our last meal, we sat around a fabulous steak and lobster dinner and toasted to the last year--a year that for some of us meant defining heartbreak and scary failures, new loves and engagements, amazing career moves and profound learning moments. Then, we raised our glasses to our hopes and goals for the next 365. Financial stability for some, recklessness and taking risks for others.

After dinner that night, I sat back on a leather couch in a crowded club as the music was pounding, surrounded by six of my favorite people in the world--feeling so complete, so whole and so happy. These are my people. In that moment I knew regardless of what happens in the next year, when I turn 26 I'll still be surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women who I respect and admire, who despite much of an age difference between us, I look up to as role models for my own life. I only hope I can return the favor.

Friday, February 22, 2013

our one confession...

We confess...

We've been way too occupied getting ready for **VEGAS** this week!

We hope you can forgive us. And we can't wait to share our trip with ya'll when we get back. There are sure to be a few stories to tell...

Have a fabulous weekend Smith + Emma land! We'll be sure to clink to you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the woman I want to be

I want to be the kind of woman who. . . 
Is fearless. 
Doesn't sweat it. 
Has regrets. 
But mostly triumphs. 
Knows that life is full of ups and downs. 
Is joyful with the ups.
And accepting of the downs.

I want to be the kind of woman my grandmothers are--

I want to be the kind of woman who never stops. . .

I don't always know what I want to do, but I know who I want to be. 
Surely that will lead me somewhere. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

standing still

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." -- Socrates

Do you ever feel like the world is buzzing around you but you're just kind of...standing there? You simply don't know where to go. So you stay right where you are -- and you just, you take it all in. 

That's where I am right now. Not frozen, not immobile, but still. In this chaotic world, I've learned one more valuable thing to add to my list of what I know.

I don't really know anything at all.

And it's not a feeling of desperation, or sadness. I simply feel...humbled. For the first time in my life I am at a loss for the right things to say or the right things to do. All I really know is that I don't know much at all -- and God, or the Universe, whoever it is up there -- I've stopped moving, stopped planning, stopped deciding. 

And my heart is wide open. 

Take a minute to watch the video if you're in need of a little humility, or just need to be amazed.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

happy love day

Today, Smith + Emma land, I encourage you to celebrate all of the love in your life. The love you receive, the love you give. The love you have for yourself.

Today is a celebration of all love, and what a beautiful thing that is. 

Sometimes, when I really think about love, I'm awed by it. Its place in the human experience. Its universality. No matter who you are or where you live, love is something you long for. 

So maybe no flowers arrive at your desk today, your pals all have plans and that girl in your office decked in pink and red makes you want to vomit. 

I can assure you, you're not alone. Because in as much as love is a shared human experience, so is heartbreak. And loneliness. 

So buy the obnoxious girl a latte. Call your grandma. Smile at someone as you pass them.

Spread some love today. We've all been on every side of February 14. Attached, single, happy, sad, excited, disappointed, lonely, loved.

The beauty of it is -- no matter what side we're on this day -- we're never really alone in it.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

february 13.


A few thoughts for the day before Valentine's Day.... 

Think about this for a second--What is so bad about being single? The world is not coming to an end. You are still very much in charge of your own life. And! You don't have to worry about what to get a guy for a lame holiday that he doesn't even care about {the worst, am I right?}.

So, you don't have someone righthisveryminute. That doesn't mean that tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that you won't meet someone. You never know what's around the corner. And the more time you sit sulking about it or worrying about it, the more time you're wasting... instead you should be living your life or learning about yourself. 

Most of the time you're single because you truly need to be single. I 100 percent believe this. When I was single, I didn't know why I wasn't meeting the "right guy." That's because... I had to work on myself. I needed that time to figure out who I was, why my past relationships hadn't worked, and allowed myself time to prepare myself to meet someone new. 

{Worth noting--I definitely have more to work on--are we ever truly done becoming better people? It's much easier to focus on yourself when you're single and that's truly the best time to make the most progress. I find it motivating in a way.}

Take this time to try new things. Figure out what makes you tick instead of having to worry about what makes someone else tick. Meet new people! Develop a hobby or talent. And if you aren't feeling it from time to time, just take a page from Miss Kaling and put on some lip gloss and pretend to be psyched. Half the battle is mental--getting out of your own head and opening yourself up to new opportunities, new people, new experiences. 

Tomorrow night I'll be surrounded by a few of my favorite ladies. Instead of celebrating with the men in our lives or the men we wish were in our lives, we'll be celebrating each other. I think February 14 is often hard for us ladies because we put so much pressure on the big day. So unnecessary. Instead, pressure yourself into grabbing your gals and showing them how much you love them. Encourage each other to become better women. That's what I need from my friends regardless of my relationship status. 

Girl power!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

break the rules

Breaking the Rules at a Photo Shoot for Maude 
I think I have to add one thing to my list of the very few things I know. And I think this is one worth sharing.

I can remember in journalism school being told time and time again, learn all of the rules of writing. Grammar, punctuation, AP style, don't use cliches, don't start a sentence with but, use active voice over passive, don't use run ons....etc. But then I remember being told one day by one of my favorite professors (Tall, beautiful gray hair, oh and she won a Pulitzer -- no big deal), that once those rules are mastered -- we should break them. 


I remember learning this same concept in my photography courses and graphic design classes. I am learning the same thing now in my counseling courses. Learn how to do it all perfectly -- and then ignore it.

Well it's not really that simple, I should probably add this in: ignore when appropriate. Your rule breaking should have intent. The run on sentence fits the voice of the character, the overexposed photograph amplifies the artistic statement.

I was reminded of this last night as I read a book called "Selling Water by the River" by Shane Hipps. His whole approach to religion is that while it gives us structure, it's not necessary to have a relationship with Jesus, or God. Some people in the religious community really dislike this guy -- which makes me like him all the more.

He applied this whole notion to the idea of religion, which I found interesting and liberating. You learn the commandments, you fear God, you seek the paths away from sin. You live in the structure that religion gives you. And once you have learned all of those things -- when necessary -- you disregard them. And Hipps isn't just trying to be a rebel, mind you. He takes this approach from Jesus himself, who was quite the rule breaker of religion. (Healing the blind man on the Sabbath, turning water into wine in sacred containers, not condoning the stoning of an adulterous woman...)

I think the point of Hipps, my favorite professor and my teachers now is that you have to learn the basics so that you can get beyond them. They are the building blocks. But if you only stick to the "rules" you will never grow. You won't push the limits. You won't see where what you've learned can really take you. You'll miss the extraordinary.

So, learn the rules in all things you do. And then learn how to break them.

Monday, February 11, 2013

three hours south

the arkansas river
from a road trip in july that has since become more frequent

I think I wrote a post back in Smith & Emma's original glory days alluding to the fact that I would never do long distance dating unless it was absolutely necessary. Maybe I didn't. But I've definitely thought or even said it once or twice.

What is that saying about we plan and God laughs?

God is seriously getting a good chuckle now. And I'm eating my words. Never say never.

Because suddenly {not really that suddenly actually}, I've found myself in a long distance relationship. Gasp! Six months and some change later, I’m still wondering how I let my guard down long enough to let it happen. Yet so, so thankful I did.

But damn. This long distance thing is hard. Easily the single best and hardest thing I've ever done. Other than the fact that it wasn’t the ideal set up for a relationship, I really had no clue how long distance relationships worked. Sure, I’d dabbled in it during the summers in college—but the thing about summer is there’s always an end. Currently, there's no end in sight. That’s equal parts scary and frustrating for a control freak like me who just must know how her life is going to pan out. {Again, God laughs.}

I’m learning to go with the flow, which is admittedly hard for me and still a constant struggle. I'm slowly getting the hang of being happy in the present moment without worrying too much about the future. It is a daily battle--sometimes I'm too stubborn to realize I can be both happy and sad at the same time and sometimes I feel like the I am without a doubt the luckiest girl in the world. Luckily, I’ve found someone very, very patient.

Moral of this story... Never count anything out. Just when you least expect it, something great is waiting for you right where you'd least expect to find it--in my case, about three hours south. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

confessional friday

Meet our other roomie, Leigh! This was pre-hair-in-the-face at the Eli Young concert! 

It's already Friday? Time to spill.

Annye's Confessions:
1. I confess that I have been a very bad blogger this week. My goal this next week is to be much, much better about being on top of it. I have lots of posts that are just dying to be written, I just need to find the time to do it!

2. I can’t wait for Valentine’s Day. I know, I know… kill me. But seriously y’all. I love holidays, especially ones that encourage people to spread love. Jena and I have some lady date plans for the big day and my weekend plans include a pre-planned date night with my long-distance lover. {Bet he’d love to know that I just called him that.}

3. Speaking of my aforementioned “lover”…. Seriously if one more person asks when we’re going to get engaged I may just go crazy. Didn’t we just start dating?! I can’t imagine how people who have been dating for longer than a hot minute endure that question over and over again.

4. Lent officially kicks off next week and I think I’m giving up texting. Holy crap, how am I going to do that?! Basically planning on not speaking to any of my friends or family for forty days. But hoping that it motivates me to actually, you know, talk to my family and friends instead of relying on the lazier form of communication.

5. Jena and I (and five of our other lady friends) are going to VEGAS in two weeks! I’m dying of excitement already. It will be our first trip to Sin City. Our only plans right now are to drink copious amounts of alcohol, eat good food, and celebrate 25 years of living life right. Any other suggestions? Send them our way!

Jena's Confessions:
1. This is less of a confession and more of a public service announcement. Ehhem. Women with long hair: it is not necessary to flip your hair over each shoulder repeatedly, like you're starring in some romantic comedy trying to catch the eye of some man who, let's be honest, is probably not even looking at you, especially when there are people packed around you like sardines and the only one in the room noticing your beautiful locks is the girl behind you who keeps getting smacked in the face with it. Lord.

2. Note above sass. Not sure what has gotten into me, but the sass just keeps pouring out of me this week. Maybe it's the hair. Or my lack of sleep this week. Either way, I kind of like it. In the words of Shoshanna, "I am a woman, hear me roar."

3. A man tried to buy my drink last night, and it wasn't even just for me, but a round for everyone we were with, and I couldn't let him do it. There is just something that irks me about a man I don't know assuming he's going to pay, when I'm all, "Hey world, treat us as equals!" I know this was just a piano bar and a Corona -- but it's the freaking principle. So I stood at the bar with him, noticing his lack of skill in getting the bartenders attention, made our drink order, and handed my card over quicker then he could his. What did I say in #2? I am a woman. Hear me roar.

4. My dad still does my taxes. And in my attempt to get him to let me try this year he refused. Reminds me of how he'd never let me mow the lawn growing up but he'd let my little sister. I think he and I both know those scenarios would end up in more work for him, but damnit dad, I want to appear mature and responsible.

5. I'm actually excited about Valentine's Day, too. Not having to buy for a guy means I'll be treating myself to some cute new lingerie from Maude, a fondue-filled girls night (see what I did there?) and a weekend date with my other roommate Leigh and best of all -- a big, hot, juicy steak.

Have a fabulous weekend, ya'll!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

learning your strengths

I'm not one for online quizzes determining whether or not I am Blair or Serena from Gossip Girl, but when I saw Annye's sis post her quiz results from Archetype Me, it appeared to be assessing something useful, plus it will cater your news to your archetype. (Though I think it's important to read news and opinions that challenge who you are.)

I also wanted to see if this quiz matched up with a few other assessments I've had to take throughout graduate school such as the Myers-Briggs and StrengthsQuest. It was pretty on point with what I've been told a few times before: I like to give, I like to learn and like the overly emotional girl in Mean Girls, "I have a lot of feelings."

I think these assessments are useful in two ways. One, you can learn what your strengths are as a person -- knowing these is great for life in general, but also job searching and interviewing. Two, you can learn the areas you want to grow your strengths in...say you want to become more of a leader, or become more of a spiritual person. Don't just get stuck in the labels it gives you.

You get the idea.

Tell us what your archetypes are -- and if you think they are right about you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

just one more

via my bed
Suffering a case of the Monday's and a bout of writer's block, I found a little dose of inspiration in the fact that I already have a stomach ache from eating too many Starbursts, but I just had to unwrap one more.

Why do we do that? Why do we cause ourselves pain?

This idea reminds me of recent conversations I've had with friends. One keeps talking with this guy who she knows isn't good for her, another friend mentioned how he spent his one day off hungover because he had to have just one more drink with his pal -- you know, the one you really don't need. Another friend of mine keeps doing this or that for an organization that she really doesn't have time to be a part of.

And -- of course -- I'm guilty, too. And far beyond being a glutton for Starbursts. Or wine. Or coffee. But I think you all knew that already. ;)

While I have no expert wisdom to offer here, I think part of it has to do with instant gratification, or instant happiness. We drink one more glass of wine because it feels good now,  even though we know we have to be to work early the next day.

I also think about conversations I've had with one of those same friends above, who repeatedly reminded me during a really terrible break-up a few years back (when I couldn't shake my depressed routine) that we are creatures of habit. We engage in behavior that isn't good for us because it's what we've always done. It's comfortable. 

One of my professor's says all of the time: "If nothing changes, nothing changes. But if anything changes, everything changes."

It's an overwhelming idea. And we tend as humans to not handle it very well, which is interesting being that the only thing constant in life is well -- change.

You're tired of feeling hungover at work? Skip the wine. You're tired of that douche making you feel inadequate? Stop talking to him. You're tired of never having any money? Stick to a budget.

Of course, we all know, it's not that easy. And some things are out of our control (though our attitude always is in our control)...but I digress.

Liz Gilbert shares this insight: “I was full of a hot, powerful sadness and would have loved to burst into the comfort of tears, but tried hard not to, remembering something my Guru once said -- that you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead.”

I love Gilbert's take on this, or her guru's rather. We must practice the new habits we want to have. Seems more doable than the declaration "I'm never going to do this again!" Let's be honest, that just leaves us all feeling disappointed when we do it again. (Hello New Year's resolutions!) Beating ourselves up over our "failures" doesn't do us any good. What did some super positive person say...the only way to fail is to not try? We have to be our own biggest cheerleaders. We have to think we can do whatever it is we want to achieve.

So practice. Again and again. It's the only way to get better at anything. And in time...those habits of choosing water over soda, not buying that pair of shoes, or not allowing another person to ruin your day...they all of a sudden become you.

And the change you were so scared of has just...happened.

Friday, February 1, 2013

confessional friday

Happy Friday friends!! Here are our confessions for the week...


1. Maude (the boutique I work for) participated in a high school fashion show last night. I can't believe how old I felt. It's been a DECADE since I was a sophomore! The real confession, though, is that I thought some of those high school boys were cute...haha. Cougar, anyone?

2. I chopped off my ridiculously long locks yesterday and... I actually love it. All day I was looking up hair cuts, trying to figure out what the hell my face shape is, and stressing about if I should part ways with "my beautiful hair." But when that last ponytail was cut (I donated it -- 4 ponytails my hair is so thick!) I felt -- awesome. It's short and sassy (just like yours truly) and the outpouring of compliments was ridiculous. Everyone made me feel so special. Totally warmed my heart.

3. For dinner two nights in a row this week I had pickles and spinach dip and crackers. Weird combination, I know. But there two of my favorite foods, why not put them together? I have got to start feeding myself a little better...sigh.

4. The road to faith is not an easy one -- for me. I refuse to believe in anything just because I'm supposed to believe in something -- so I've been all over the place this week. Reading Christian articles, watching videos about faith in science, and re-reading my NPR's This I Believe to see what common folk and some of the greatest minds that ever lived (such as Einstein) believed. This is a tall order I've given myself -- but it's a necessary one. Whether I find my spirituality in humanity or God or Buddha. Or none of these. Or a combination of all. All I've realized this week is that I don't have to believe every aspect of what someone else believes -- I can make it my own. And maybe I'll never come to one final conclusion, maybe it's just important that I've let the journey begin.

5. I never comment on articles I read. I rarely can even stomach reading the comments for more than 30 seconds. But today, I couldn't help myself. I read an article from The Atlantic about a Pastor who stiffed a waitress at Applebee's who had been charged a 20+ group gratuity rate of 18%. The Pastor crossed it off, wrote $0, as well as "I give God 10%, why would I give you 18%"? The waitress snapped a pic of the receipt and like many of us would all do -- put it on her social network. It received a ton of attention, as it should in my opinion, and the Pastor received a title wave of backlash. Cue an "apology" about how she disgraced her faith and her church. Okay, she learned her lesson, right? Wrong! Biotch had the nerve to call Applebee's and request the waitress be FIRED! Yes, fired. And they did. As someone who worked as a waitress for 5 years, and even at Applebee's -- I have a strong opinion on tipping. Wait staff barely make $3 an hour. I got stiffed at Applebee's all of the time. I literally could not afford my bills some months. And it sure as hell wasn't because I wasn't working hard. And a table of 20? Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry knows how difficult that is. And I won't even get started on here about how wrong it was of that Pastor to use God as her excuse. I apologize for the rant. But, I beg of you, Smith + Emma land, be a good tipper. It's someone trying to make an honest living in a job that most of the time really sucks. Tip generously. I guarantee you will make their day. 


1. Y’all. I think I’m dying. I have proudly been claiming that I never get sick. But wouldn’t you know it… I think I’ve come down with a cold. Something just little enough to be annoying, but not big enough to actually matter. The worst.

2. Because of aforementioned sickness, I’ve done absolutely nothing this week. I feel worthless. And boring.

3. I stayed at my parent's house last night. I woke up this morning and my mom made me cinnamon toast. First of all, tastiest thing ever. Second of all, it's nice to have someone take care of you in the morning. The little things.

4. Another perk of staying at mom & dads? Sushi and red wine for dinner. Luckily, my cold has not affected my appetite ;) I could eat sushi and drink red wine even on my sickest of days, I'm pretty sure. 

5. I can never remember the difference/usage of affect vs. effect. With a 50/50 shot, I pretty much always guess. Anyone have a good way to remember?

Have a great weekend lovlies! xoxo